Type 2 Diabetic. Bike tour guide. #NextBurgh Flâneur.   Coffeeneur.    Errandoneur
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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pittsburgh - Washington DC Bike Ride Summary

06/30/12 244# 0m

This was an excellent ride. Although group rides over six people can be difficult, this group ride went well. The usual challenges of a large group are (1) the tragedy of the anti-commons in decision making, and (2) the slowest-common-denominator - the tendency of a group to be as slow as it's slowest member at any given point. Those aren't character flaws, it's just the nature of groups. This group went well.

Weather and trail conditions were the best I've ever seen. We had a seven-day trip where it rained once, and that was a brief downburst while we were inside eating. The C&O was better (iow, dryer) than I've ever seen it. We may be burning off the atmosphere with global warming but the short-term effect on the C&O Trail is mildly positive.

Daily Reports
Day 1, Point State Park, Pittsburgh to Belle Vernon PA
Day 2, Belle Vernon PA to Confluence PA
Day 3, Confluence PA to Cumberland MD
Day 4, Cumberland MD to Little Orleans MD
Day 5, Little Orleans MD to Williamsport MD
Day 6, Williamsport MD to Leesburg VA
Day 7, Leesburg VA to Washington DC

New Equipment
I was evaluating two new things this week: a bicycle cooler pannier and the Eagle Creek Pack-It products.

The bicycle cooler panniers were great, they worked as advertised. I put cold water bottles in them in the morning, and even on a very hot day they were cold several hours later (to the delight of my companions). They clipped onto my racks without adjustment, they stay in place once mounted, and I didn't need to use the supplemental mounting hooks at the bottom.

They wore well, I used them for a week on a dry dusty trail and although the outside got dirty the inside was clean as new. On two of our days (day 5 and 7) having the pannier coolers let me move cold drinks to people on the trail where a car couldn't get to them, and I really liked that. These Stone Cold Outdoor bike cooler bags worked real well.

When I recently camped with my Ortlieb panniers for the first time, I came into the question of how to organize the contents for easy retrieval / repacking - it wasn't working when I filled the bags with a lot of loose, little items. I sought advice on BikeForums and the wisdom was to use bags inside the panniers, preferably vertically oriented for the Ortliebs, and a few responses recommended the Eagle Creek Pack-It system.

The Eagle Creek bags worked well in my duffel bag. They compressed my street clothes and bike clothes, and the silnylon bag was a good laundry bag. Although I initially scoffed at buying bags to put inside my other bags, they do work well and I'll use them again.

K. was experimenting with gloveless riding, and seemed to like it at the end of the week.

Food Enroute
On this ride (and on other recent rides) I've been eating more real food and less pseudo-food like PowerBars, etc. I've found that there's enough regular food around to be scrounged.

Restaurants / Food
These eateries were great:
  • Rivers Edge Cafe, Confluence
  • Sweetie's Bakery, Confluence
  • Queen City Creamery, Cumberland
  • Crabby Pig, Cumberland
  • Schoolhouse Cafe, Oldtown
  • Weaver's, Hancock
  • Tony's Pizza, Williamsport
  • Waffle House, Williamsport
  • Del Rio, Leesburg
This place I won't visit again:
  • Bill's Place, Little Orleans (re the Klu Klux Klan sticker on display and "spook" jokes)

These places were great and I'll stay at them again anytime:
  • Belle Vernon Comfort Inn
  • River's Edge B&B Confluence PA
  • Fairfield Inn in Cumberland
These places I will not stay in again:
  • Parker House, Confluence (they messed up the reservations and copped a major attitude about it in 2010, and in 2012 they messed up the reservations and had an attitude about it. Great facility, lousy management.)
  • Town Hill B&B in Little Orleans (bad location [hill/distance] for a bicyclist; bad shuttle policy and fee; messed up arrangements; very expensive for bad service and a good breakfast.)

The RedRood Inn in Williamsport is a low-cost, low-expectations overnight and they do well at it.

I thought the Hampton Inn in Leesburg was absolutely great but the logistics of getting to the hotel from White's Ferry were difficult and time-consuming.

Bike Shops
These bike shops were very helpful and went above and beyond:
  • West Newton Bike Shop
  • Confluence Trail Connection
  • C and O Bicycles, Hancock
  • Bicycle Outfitters, Leesburg

I saw deer, a fox, three snakes, bunnies and small animals, an indigo bunting, a blue heron, a white egret (egrets, I saw a few, but then again..). Most curiously, I saw goats carrying saddlebags, I saw sled dogs pulling a recumbent tandem, and I saw a horse going through the McD drive-through in Williamsport. A good week.

   June 30, 2012 Week 24
this week:
316 miles
  244#   2nd Qtr 2013 miles
2012: 3016 miles

1 comment:

  1. at the start of one of rides in the South Hills area I was pleased to see half a dozen turkeys crossing the road the day after Thanksgiving...

    I don't get to see very many turkeys in Washington DC